Homicide

Grand jury to consider charges against former astronaut

A grand jury will review evidence against a former space shuttle commander charged in the traffic deaths of two girls in Alabama.

Court records showed Tuesday that reckless murder charges against 59-year-old James Halsell of Huntsville are being sent to grand jurors in Tuscaloosa County.

Members could indict Halsell or refuse to return charges against the one-time astronaut.

Halsell was arrested last month after a wreck that killed two girls in rural Tuscaloosa County. Police reports show investigators believe alcohol and speed could be factors in the crash.

Relatives of 11-year-old Niomi James and 13-year-old Jayla Parler have filed lawsuits blaming Halsell for their deaths.

Attorneys for Halsell haven't filed anything on his behalf in either the criminal or civil cases, and they didn't immediately return an email seeking comment.